The eternal optimism of the writer

My week of blogging silence has been for a good cause.

I have been busy with lots of activities, both writing-related and not. One of the writing-related activities has been preparing to submit “Dance of Souls” to Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Awards. The submission period begins at midnight on January 23, and I’m set to hit “submit” at the first possible moment. Luckily, being on the West Coast, I can do that at 9 p.m. local time.

One reason I want to be so timely is that submissions are capped at 10,000. It might be hard to believe that 10,000 budding novelists are going to submit manuscripts, but I have no doubt that will be the case and that a delay might result in not being able to enter (more about this in a future post).

Looking at the sun set over the Pacific always makes me feel optimistic--and gives me some energy, too.

I am not sure where I get the energy to keep doing this. I don’t remember the first rejection letter I received for my fiction or poetry but I must have been in my 20s (more than 20 years ago, for those counting), which was when I first created something I thought worthy of submission. For a while I kept a folder of rejection letters. I haven’t looked lately, but I’ll bet it contains more than 50.

In retrospect, as with so much writing, the work I submitted long ago seems jejune. (Interestingly, the first definition of “jejune” at Dictionary.com is “without interest or significance; dull; insipid: a jejune novel.”) I felt that way about pretty much everything I wrote until “Dance of Souls.” I would finish a piece and by the time I had set it aside for a few months or begun to investigate publishing options, I couldn’t bear the thought of even re-reading it, let alone of editing and rewriting. (Maybe that’s just how it is if one is growing as a writer. ) “Dance of Souls” was the first thing I felt I could live with and not cringe every time I did a reading or created an excerpt—which is one of the reasons I decided to put it out to the wider world. (Does this mean I’m no longer “growing as a writer?” I certainly hope not.)

So, yet again, I’ll put my work out there, hoping that “Dance of Souls” miraculously survives what is sure to be some cutthroat competition. And if it doesn’t, I’ll keep marketing it, and keep submitting it, and, most importantly, I’ll keep writing.

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